The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is a must have for the points and miles enthusiast. It’s also a perfect travel credit card for beginners thanks to a generous sign-up bonus and no annual fee for the first year.
I retired this card when I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but this is my husband’s newest travel credit card. Both cards provide Chase Ultimate Rewards points which are some of the most versatile points in the points and miles game. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred between your own Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, between you and your spouse, and to numerous travel partners so they can pretty much take you anywhere on your bucket list. I’ve laid out the steps for combining Chase Ultimate Rewards here.
If you decide this is the right card for you, you can find my credit card referral links here. If you use my link, you get the sign-up bonus listed and I get the commission listed which helps me provide content for this site. You don’t have to use my links, but I certainly appreciate it when you do.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Sign-up Bonus
Currently, this card has a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. The minimum spending requirement is pretty high for a travel credit card so make sure you’ve done a financial check-up before you apply. I’ve been watching this card for a while now and increased sign-up bonuses are pretty rare. Although, there are reports of a higher sign-up bonus if you apply in a Chase branch, it appears to be targeted to Chase Private Clients as explained here.
You will also get another 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you add an authorized user and that user makes a purchase. This is a situation when you absolutely should add an authorized user to get the bonus. Your authorized user can get themselves removed later if they need to get back under the 5/24 rule.
Chase’s 5/24 Rule
This card does fall under the 5/24 rule that I explained here. If you’ve opened more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months, you will not be approved.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Annual Fee
As with any credit card, you should thoroughly read the pricing, terms, and offer details on the Chase website before you apply. You can find all of those details here. I don’t discuss things like interest rates on this blog because you should pay your balance off every month and never pay those fees. If you pay interest fees, you negate your free travel and you lose the points and miles game.
This card does have an annual fee of $95, but it’s waived the first year so take it for a test drive before you really commit. If you decide you don’t want to pay that fee, you can call Chase and request a product change to a no-fee card like the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited. Keep reading for a little more information on those cards. A product change will not result in an additional account on your credit report. I downgraded my Chase Sapphire Preferred to the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus Spending Categories
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you earn 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for all travel and dining purchases made with this card and 1 point on everything else. If you love to eat out, this is the card for you. Whether it’s in a restaurant or at a drive-thru, you’ll get 2x the points on every meal. In our household, those points add up very quickly!
Chase Sapphire Preferred Additional Benefits
This card also comes with some additional goodies like no foreign transactions fees, primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, travel and emergency assistance services, extended warranty protection and purchase protection. You never know when these added benefits will come in handy. I used the trip interruption insurance this year and received a refund for the first night of my non-refundable Priceline.com hotel room after my flight was delayed due to weather.
Redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards
Redemption is where Chase Ultimate Rewards points really shine. I’ll go into more detail on this in another post, but when you hold a Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for 1.25 cents. When redeemed this way, that 50,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $625. If you added an authorized user, that 55,000 bonus is worth about $687.
However, the best way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points is usually by transferring points to Chase travel partners. Currently, Chase has the following 13 travel partners:
Air France & KLM
Some of these partners are better than others when it comes to getting the best value out of your points. When redeeming through transfer partners, you could turn that 50,000 point sign-up bonus into even more than $625 or more than $687 with an authorized user.
Great Companion Cards to Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase has a trio of cards that make up the Chase Ultimate Rewards trifecta: Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Chase Sapphire (Preferred or Reserve). All of these cards can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and, as I mentioned earlier, you can transfer your points between your own accounts or to your spouse. But they have different bonus spending categories so you must use the right card for the right purchases. Freedom Unlimited earns 1.5x points on all purchases. Freedom earns 5x points on rotating categories up to $1,500 of spending per quarter. If you already have Freedom or Freedom Unlimited in your wallet, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You’ll increase the travel value of all of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points from 1 cent to 1.25 cents at minimum.
You can also find my referral links to Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, and Chase Sapphire Reserve here.
Final Thoughts on Chase Sapphire Preferred
I loved my Chase Sapphire Preferred so much I made my husband sign-up for it too. You can find out exactly how much value I got out of the sign-up bonus here. (Spoiler alert: over $1,000!) I highly recommend this card to anyone who asks me which points and miles card they should start with. It’s just that good and Chase Ultimate Rewards are so easy to redeem.
Make sure to check out all of my tips for Signing Up For Your First Points & Miles Credit Card before you click apply.